Friday 12th March - Empathy 2

Yesterday, we reflected on ‘empathy’.

What do you think about this story?

A young woman was deeply sad and feeling quite desperate following a broken relationship. She experienced emotional waves of guilt, anger, abandonment, darts of denial and foolish mental bargaining but mostly a deep grief. She considered ending it all as being alive felt so awful.

One day, on her way to work, she realised that her sweater was full of holes and decided it was time to get a new one. In a shop she looked at a range of sweaters of all colours and styles. Looking at them gave her respite from her heavy emotions. An assistant was genuinely helpful, had good taste and was concerned her customer chose well, which she did.

Pointing to the holes in her old sweater, the young woman said she would wear the new one immediately. As they went to pay, the assistant said that if the woman had twenty minutes, she would repair the old sweater for her with no charge. The young woman was totally, wordlessly taken by surprise. Less than twenty minutes later, it was repaired so well she couldn’t see where the holes had been. She offered money to the assistant but was strongly refused. As she sought words to thank the older woman, her own emotions welled up uncontrollably and she began to weep. She looked at the older woman, pressed her hand and hurriedly left the shop.

Lost in her despair, it was a stranger who sensed her customer’s overwhelming sadness  and was moved, not to intrude, but to manifest a presence greater than herself in an uncalled-for act of kindness.